It’s fun to write about all the emerging trends in fashion and style and having the ability to wax on about them forever. Sometimes however, it pays to take a look at our wardrobe necessities and update them when we can. The beauty of necessities is that they don’t change too often, so if you choose to spend a little extra up front on something that’s a classic style you don’t run the risk of having that piece fall out of favour.
That brings me to today’s topic: the best belts, suits and boots for 2016. It combines emerging trends and old standbys. Any man that considers himself to be a stylish gentleman will probably agree that these pieces are paramount to building a solid and interesting wardrobe. The changes in elements like these tend to be subtle year over year, but that’s no reason not to see what’s out there and perhaps add an item or two to your closet. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at what the best belts, suits and boots are for 2016 and see how you can improve this year.
Belts are an item that, in theory, shouldn’t be difficult to purchase. You can typically find a belt that is your size and that matches your style without much issue. The problem lies in the fact that it’s tough to do this as well as find a belt that’s of a high quality. So often you see belts that are glued together and fall apart after a few months of regular use. There’s a few ways to avoid this fate: the first is to do your homework. Belts from fast fashion labels are going to be relatively inexpensive but they’re going to fall apart. The second is to choose function over form. If a quality belt is a simpler in design than you originally wanted, still go with it. I tend to eschew belts that are elaborate in design for simpler, classic options. One of my favourite labels to purchase belts from is a company called Tanner Goods, out of Portland, Oregon. They do a few different models, all of which are fairly straightforward. The quality you receive for the price though, can’t be matched. I’ve been wearing a version of a Tanner Goods belt for the better part of five years and none of the three I own (one of which I wear almost every day) are showing any signs of stopping.
One of the belts they do best, and definitely a great belt for this year, is their natural leather option. Although the natural colour may throw some for a loop at first, be patient and it’ll become a favourite. A natural belt takes on a patina over time and not only moulds perfectly to your expanding or shrinking physique, but becomes a very unique and original item. The more you wear it the more the colour will change. It’s a beautiful thing and will look great with suits, jeans or chinos.
The styling and fit of suits hasn’t changed significantly over the last few years, which I believe is a good thing. When we start radically changing suits we end up with things like the zoot suit and those ridiculous 80s power suits with the huge shoulders. Anyway, this is a positive development because it means the suits we do own aren’t out of style and we can turn out focus to colours and patterns. A few of the trends I’ve seen for this coming year are ones I can absolutely get on board with. The first is the return of big patterns. Think a windowpane or a Prince of Wales. These are fantastic, timeless patterns that tend to look good on almost all men. My advice here is to keep the base colour of the suit fairly neutral so as to not look like a cad. A really loud pattern and print can overwhelm the eye, so it’s best to keep one of the two more understated.
The other trend I’ve seen is pretty much the opposite of the big bold patterns- bolder colours without pattern. A trend that’s been around for a few seasons now and something that looks great when done with subtlety is the deep red (think crimson) coloured suit. With a white shirt and plain tie, it’s a great way to set yourself apart. The same can be said for an olive suit. Keep them trim and cut the pants short and you have yourself a real showpiece for this year.
I prefer for my boots to be as versatile as possible. I want to be able to wear them with my favourite pair of jeans as well as my favourite suit. In recent seasons there has been a turn towards Chelsea boots as a catch-all option. Chelsea boots are great and they don’t go out of style, so this is a great option. This year, however, there’s been a turn back towards work boots (or at least boots that look like work boots). An old standby of mine is the Beckman from Red Wing. They deliver the quality you would expect from Red Wing and look great with pretty much everything you own.
If you’re looking to step outside the box a bit and try something new, one of my favourite options are the hiking-inspired boots made by Italian label Diemme. The quality is amazing and it’s a different look than you tend to see. While not for everyone, it’s something worth looking into if you consider yourself to be a trailblazer in the sartorial world. Don’t be afraid to wear them with a suit either. It may seem a bit odd initially but once you get past that you’ll start to dig the way it feels.
What I love about these three pieces is that you can do so much with them. I like versatility a lot and I want to get the most out of my clothes for the money I spend. Boots, suits, and belts all fall into that category. There are some pieces where you can save a few bucks here and there but I wouldn’t recommend saving money on these. Buying quality will pay out long-term and there’s nothing more stylish to me, this year or any year, than good ol’ fashioned quality.